Apartments erected for the RPI campus in Hartford near Dunkin’ Park

The Salvatore project is scheduled to go before the Capital Region Development Authority on Tuesday as part of a bid for $16 million in state funding toward the total cost of $67 million to redevelop the first phase of the 12.7-acre property, which was previously home to the Center Postgraduate studies at RPI.

Salvatore said he sees potential on the former RPI campus for up to 1,200 apartments and mixed-use retail or nonprofit space. Just blocks away from The Pennant, a fully leased residential complex opening in 2022, the RPI site could connect ongoing development around Dunkin’ Park.

The developer’s plans to build more apartments across Main Street from The Pennant, part of a larger development near Dunkin’ Park called North Crossing, have stalled amid fallout from a lawsuit filed by Centerplan. That company was one of two chosen to develop Dunkin’ Park, but was later fired by the city. Centerplan filed a lawsuit and continued its efforts to fight the city over its decision and halt ongoing projects.

Supreme Court Justice Cesar A. Noble in May favored Centerplan, halting development in the area immediately surrounding Dunkin’ Park.

According to court records, Noble on Sept. 11 denied the city’s latest motion to dismiss part of the lawsuit. Noble rejected another motion in May that also aimed to dismiss part of Centerplan’s lawsuit. Future city motions aimed at dismissing the case will be heard next month; Jury selection for the trial is scheduled to begin on January 1 of next year.

Before the judge’s action, Salvatore’s North Crossing project was on track to add more than 1,000 apartments with retail and public space to the buildings surrounding Dunkin’ Park. Salvatore said the redevelopment of the RPI campus could add housing to the area instead of pending projects near the stadium.

“This will create really significant density,” Salvatore said of RPI’s plans. “We’ve had great success with The Pennant…we’ve been bogged down by lawsuits, and this allows us to continue developing in the area.”

New York-based RPI put its Hartford campus up for sale in February for an undisclosed price after moving several of its Connecticut programs online. The property is currently occupied by a 1970s classroom building, auditorium, parking garage and surface parking – only the garage will remain standing after the redevelopment.

CRDA secured $13.6 million in funding from the State Bond Commission for the second phase of Salvatore’s North Crossing project — which was halted by the lawsuit — and that funding will be transferred to the RPI campus. $3 million will also be allocated toward the RPI plan from the 200 Constitution Plaza redevelopment project that was “cancelled,” according to Regional Commission for Agricultural Development documents.

The RPI campus was not part of the North Crossing development area and was not affected by Centerplan’s lawsuit.

With further expansion of North Crossing blocked by the lawsuit, Salvatore is planning an aggressive timeline for the RPI campus. He added that demolition of existing buildings and new construction could begin by the end of the year.

Salvatore added that he is optimistic that Phase 2 of North Crossing can move forward soon, pending the outcome of the lawsuit.

“We hope this matter will be resolved quickly, because we are excited to continue on these paths,” Salvatore said.

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